Awesome Spoon: Developing the Non-Monogamy Dictionary


Awesome Spoon: Developing the Non-Monogamy DictionaryLooking back on it, I believe I may have been a teenager right at the tipping point of meme-culture. We absolutely were a generation living from reference to reference. Chuck Norris jokes were our sustenance – did you know, “Chuck Norris CAN believe it’s not butter?” or “Chuck Norris doesn’t sleep; he waits”  – and it didn’t take much to have us howling “CHAAAAAAAARLIEEEEE!” across our common room. (Seriously – do you remember Charlie the Unicorn? Because I can quote it word for word. “It’s a liopleurodon!”) In fact we even adopted semi-understood, retrospective references, the sources of which half of us had not even seen: a goodbye wave inevitably became “wax on; wax off”. Even our common room gaming was a reference; we were 18 the year Casino Royale came out, and boy did I gamble away a lot of twenty pence pieces whilst perched on that ragged sofa.

But Chuck, and Charlie, and karate, and poker are not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is “awesome spoon”.

For a very long time, I thought “awesome spoon” was something my brother’s (then-current, now-ex-)girlfriend had told me about. She and her friends – just a couple of years my junior – inherited and carried forth this meme culture, (just before it slid into inexcusable and hateful LOLCATS territory) and did it with truly creative aplomb. They practically spoke another language, so thick with reference was their conversation. And they were happy to share the in-jokes with us, and recognised that in us lived the heritage of their culture.

But I digress! Let me get back to “awesome spoon”. Spooning, as you know- oh, wait. One more story before I continue.

My brother once told me that when he was sleepless and restless, worried or lonely, he would go to the kitchen, and peer into the spoon drawer, and the sight of the spoons spooning, would bring him immediate comfort. Particularly if he could see a dessert spoon, spooning a tea-spoon. This is not a story that earned him ridicule, but popularity. Because in this moment of celebratory-referential-culture, this kind of emotional reference was goddamn cool. And, of course, utterly adorable.

Now we may continue. Spooning, as you know, is when two people lie on their sides, both facing the same direction, and the one behind curls around, or “spoons”, the one in front. In this scenario, the person doing the spooning is often called the “big spoon”, whilst the person being spooned is called the “little spoon”. Which is where “awesome spoon” comes in. In a situation where there may be more than two people cuddling – most likely three – and spooning occurs, the person in the middle is “awesome spoon”. S/he is both big and little spoon, both in front and behind. S/he is “awesome spoon”.

I told D about awesome spoon and he swore he had never heard of it, and accused me of having invented it. Since he is *ahem* a little older than me, I assumed he just wasn’t down with our young ways, and I remained absolutely, and completely certain I had not invented it! But I did my research, and I asked my school friends, and I asked my brother, AND his ex-girlfriend, and no one, but no one, had any recollection of awesome spoon. So I finally relented and confessed that it must, indeed, have been me who created “awesome spoon.”

Now of course, with nine months of reconsidering this little term, and a year of non-monogamy under my belt, I no longer protest the accolade of its creation. After all, what could be more non-monogamy friendly than a term that happily rejoices at the thought of more than two people in a typically lover-esque pose?

There is always a chance that someone I have not remembered to ask, actually invented and shared this term with me. But either way, I think the non-monogamous community really ought to embrace it. And everyone should get the chance to be “awesome spoon” from time to time. Because it is, as its name suggests, awesome.


Harper Eliot is a writer and podcaster whose work mainly centers around eroticism and social observation. You can find an archive of work, and links to all her other projects, on her website Harper Eliot. Harper lives in London, but rarely sees her own house, spending most of her time on public transport, listening to podcasts and tweeting too much. Her vices include cigarettes, lubricant, Earl Grey tea, opera, nail polish, and pinwheels.


    • Ooh… I didn’t hear it from him, as I’ve been using it much longer than I’ve been listening to/following him, but I don’t at all mind being on the same track as Mr Katz.

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